M18 Hellcats in China

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Stamford54
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M18 Hellcats in China

Post by Stamford54 » 03 Feb 2012 21:09

Questions regarding M18 Hellcats

1) Were M18 Hellcats used in mainland China?

2) If yes were M18 Hellcats given as lend lease to China during WW II along with the M3A3's and M4A4's?

3) If not during WW II were they given to China right after WW II ended and used during the Civil War?

Thanks.

Stamford54


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Edward Chen
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Re: M18 Hellcats in China

Post by Edward Chen » 03 Feb 2012 22:09

Stamford54 wrote:Questions regarding M18 Hellcats

1) Were M18 Hellcats used in mainland China?

2) If yes were M18 Hellcats given as lend lease to China during WW II along with the M3A3's and M4A4's?

3) If not during WW II were they given to China right after WW II ended and used during the Civil War?
Hi Stamford,

1, 2 & 3: No.

The Republic of China Army (defending Taiwan, the Penghus, Kinmen and Matsu after 1950) used the M18 Hellcat (a total of 214 vehicles) in front-line service from 1952-1971.

The ROC Army did use the following U.S.-built "gun motor carriages" as follows:

M-7: Used 1954-1967 (total of 90).

M-8: Purchased in 1948, but arrived in Taiwan and used only there 1949-1963 (total of 257).

M-10: A number were purchased in 1948 by the ROC Armor Command along with other US AFVs such as the M5A1 and LVT-4, ironically without their armament; others were probably delivered later (total postulated at 53). Another 34 (estimated) with original armament were only used on Taiwan--lack of ammunition precluded their use in the Civil War. Twelve were employed during the May 1949 defense of Shanghai against the PLA, equipped with 105mm howitzers taken from ex-IJA Type 38 field artillery; these were evacuated to Taiwan.

M-36: Eight were procured in 1955. All eight employed on Kinmen Island during the "August 23" 1958 artillery campaign; the M-36 unit lost two men KIA.

Source: "The Development of the Nationalist Army Armor Force" [國軍裝甲兵發展史] by Said Mohamed [孫建中 (yes that's his real English name, as an ROC national of Chinese Muslim descent)]

Hope this helps,

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YC Chen
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Re: M18 Hellcats in China

Post by YC Chen » 04 Feb 2012 10:23

Regarding the M-10s with 10.5cm howitzer, I have been told that the modification was done in No.60 arsenal(former Jinling arsenal) in Nanking.
Althought there were many different kinds of armored wehicles in Shanghai in 1949(from the old T-26B and Renault ZB to the new M-18 armored cars and M-10 "SP guns"), but few of them put up a real fight against the Communists. Most were busily evacuated to Taiwan and a handful were captured by PLA.
After they went to Taiwan it is found that the modification of these M-10 "SP guns" in Nanking is not totally satisfying and it went through another modification which resulted in a much higher turret that the original M-10 and perhaps closed top(can't remember exactly). They were withdrawn from service in 1950s.

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HC8604
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Re: M18 Hellcats in China

Post by HC8604 » 16 Mar 2012 11:14

YC Chen wrote:but few of them put up a real fight against the Communists. Most were busily evacuated to Taiwan and a handful were captured by PLA.


It was mentioned earlier there was not enough ammo. Why give all your tanks two rounds when you can have a few tanks with what you have left and evacuate the equipment so that they can fight again another day. I am sure limited ammo was one is the many factors that led to the downfall of the KMT. Especially with American made equipment. Would you still fight when you and your buddies have one clip left while the CCP has a plethora of ammo suppled by the soviets? Screw bayonet fighting, I would gladly surrender lol.

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YC Chen
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Re: M18 Hellcats in China

Post by YC Chen » 18 Mar 2012 09:41

[quote="HC8604]still fight when you and your buddies have one clip left while the CCP has a plethora of ammo suppled by the soviets? [/quote]
Why do so many people think that Soviet suppliment played a very important part in the Communists' victory? I admit that there are some transactions between the Communists and Soviets in Manchuria in which the Soviets reluctantly gave the Communists some equipments and ammo formerly belong to the Kwangtung army, and this was not in large quantities. And a demand by the Communists which required some "captured German weapons" were turned down by the Soviets.
In fact, most Japanese weapons found in Manchuria were found by "digging mines"(挖窑) as it was called by the Communists. The "mines" included Japanese underground weapon storages, and Japanese weapons buried by the Soviets. It is said that the bodies of a handful of repairable Type 97 Chi-Ha were found among wrecks of Japanese tanks abandoned by the Soviets, and they could not be armed until four 57mm guns buried by the Soviets were found.

As for the Communists tanks in Shanghai, they were M3A3s from the East China Tank Squadron, captured from KMT in Huaihai battle-nothing to do with Soviet suppliment.

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YC Chen
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Re: M18 Hellcats in China

Post by YC Chen » 19 Mar 2012 10:09

I have just noticed a small mistake in Edward Chen's post: The guns used by modified M-10s were Japanese Type 91 10.5cm howitzers, not Type 38(in fact I don't remember there was a 10.5cm howitzer called type 38).

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Re: M18 Hellcats in China

Post by Edward Chen » 20 Mar 2012 23:27

Hi YC,

Thank you for catching that error and posting the correction.
You’re right, it should read “Type 91” 105mm howitzer, not “Type 38 10-cm field gun,” the latter which is a completely different weapon that looks like this (from Taki's excellent reference site on IJA equipment):

http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/38-10.htm

However, since my sources all mention the name "Type 38," I am currently researching the possibility that official Nationalist Army records of the time actually call the IJA 105mm howitzer a “Type 38 field gun,” instead of “Type 91,” for reasons to be determined.
Details on the Nationalist Army's use of modified M10's will be elaborated in another post.

To answer the original post, in conclusion:
No M18 Hellcats were used in mainland China. The Nationalist Army only used them on Taiwan after 1952.
On a lighter note, M18's also appeared as Japanese Army tanks in Chinese-language war movies filmed in Taiwan, such as the 1977 Taiwan war epic "Heroes of the Eastern Skies" [筧橋英烈傳], and the 1976 Hong Kong Shaw Brothers martial arts epic "Seven Man Army" [八道樓子; based on the 1933 battle of Badaling along the Great Wall]. At present both titles can be found in their entirety on Youtube.

The only self-propelled guns based on US-supplied vehicles used in mainland China during the Civil War period may have been modified M3A3 Stuart tanks fitted with fixed-mount M1A1 75mm pack howitzers (not M8 "Scott" Howitzer Motor Carriages, which were used only on Taiwan), similar to what was used by the allied-trained Provisional Tank Groups during the northern Burma campaign of 1944-45, but in unknown numbers.

Hope this helps,

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